Pied pipers of Manchester pop, Elbow played to a rapt Electric Factory audience - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Elbow | Photo by Sameer Rao

If Elbow’s goal is to take over the United States and blow out whatever competition they might get from Coldplay, to whom they’re often compared, then they still have a ways to go. They are, however, taking mighty and affirming strides.

Taking any memory of their stale and poorly-received set at 2011’s POPPED! Festival – the last time the Manchester five-piece played in Philadelphia – and throwing into the fire, Elbow rewrote their legacy at last night’s near-sold-out show at the Electric Factory. In between perfectly-executed songs spanning their six-album career (including most of 2014’s acclaimed The Takeoff and Landing of Everything, lead singer Guy Garvey played troubadour and master-of-ceremonies to the hilt. Throughout the set, he cracked jokes at his bandmates’ expense, singled out audience members, celebrated one couple’s recent marriage, and taunted the crowd with allegations of poor sing-along volume (“Washington was pretty good…I think Boston was the best one so far”). During those songs, he was a grandiose pied piper, raising his hand to the audience with every acrobatic vocal run and compelling ongoing attention from a rapt audience. If this gig was any indication, they’re on a course for even greater success.

Joining them was American-born, Iceland-based singer-songwriter John Grant, who rivaled Elbow for heart-on-sleeve intensity and cheeky self-deprecation . Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.

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